Our lab broadly explores the ways in which we can better manage plant-soil-microbe relationships in organic systems in order to enhance soil fertility, with the ultimate goal of developing sustainable food production systems. We do this by conducting basic and applied research that will increase our understanding of how agricultural management affects the cycling of nutrients via soil microbial processes. We are excited by the prospect of developing food production systems that are ecologically based and able to meet the food needs of society, and thus our research approaches reflect this goal.

Our research falls within three general areas:

  • The influence of agricultural management on microbial functioning, especially as related to the legume-rhizobia symbiosis,
  • The effect of organic agriculture on soil biogeochemical cycles and processes, with an emphasis on C and N cycling,
  • The impact of soil microbial communities on agricultural productivity.

A central thread that connects much of our work is the examination of winter annual legume cover crops to help maintain landscape diversity and tighten nutrient cycling within both urban and rural agricultural systems. To increase our understanding of how soil microbes indirectly and directly affect nutrient cycling and soil fertility in low input systems, we use numerous applied microbiological and field techniques to measure both the specific functioning of microbes that mediate nutrient cycling in soils, and general characteristics of soil health. Check out what we're doing page for Specific projects in which we are currently involved. We invite you to peruse our website to learn more of the details of our research and outreach efforts.

Prospective students and post-docs should follow become cool like us page to learn about the process through which we add new lab members to our team. We welcome prospective graduate students, undergraduate researchers and employees, visiting researchers and scholars, or potential collaborators to join in our exciting exploration of soil fertility management in organic and low input systems.

HORT 3131


HORT 3131
Student Organic Farm Planning, Growing, and Marketing

FDSY 4101 
Holistic Approaches to Improving Food Systems Sustainability


Service learning outreach

I am strongly committed to community-based learning in science education. Service-learning is an approach I use to link my classroom to local community partners working to increase access to food in marginalized Twin Cities communities.